Revisions to Principles of Community slowed as Office of Inclusive Excellence calls for student feedback

By Bryan Doan and Gerardo Sanchez, March 26, 2024

The Office of Inclusive Excellence at Cal Poly Pomona started revisions for the Principles of Community in collaboration with students, faculty and staff. This collaborative effort aims to articulate shared values and expectations for current and future CPP students.

These principles are designed to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and respectful behavior across campus, fostering a welcoming and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute.

The Principles of Community, now led by Chief Diversity Officer Cynthia Pickett, was created to foster an inclusive atmosphere on campus. The principles are now being updated to maintain the groundwork for establishing a positive and supportive environment at CPP.

“The project was to develop principles of community for the campus to allow students, faculty, staff, administration, everyone to weigh in on what they see as an ideal campus community and what kinds of values and principles we should uphold, Pickett said,”

However, following low registration rates for virtual open forums, the Office of Inclusive Excellence canceled all forum events from March 20 to March 26.

Campus-wide emails were sent regularly starting January in preparation for revisions to the current principles. The emails contained a personalized link to an anonymous survey where students, faculty and staff could leave feedback on their experiences and satisfaction with campus inclusivity.

Results from the surveys were collected Feb. 9 and analyzed to gauge the success of the current principles, while allowing changes to be made to areas the office deemed necessary. Then, their findings were going to be presented during the virtual open forums to allow students, faculty and staff a second chance to make their voices heard and see survey results.

With all open forums canceled, the Office of Inclusive Excellence plans to send a campus-wide email in the near future showing the results of the Principles of Community survey and allowing anyone to provide written comments and feedback. With this change, the office seeks to gather enough campus input to determine whether to move forward with implementing the new Principles of Community or working on a second draft of revised principles, which will delay their release until sufficient feedback has been collected.

“A lot of campuses have these in place, and what you find is that they really help shape and guide behavior and expectations,” said Pickett. “They’re a really useful tool when it comes to conflict resolution. It gives you a language to be able to not only identify but to talk about, you know, behaviors that may be in conflict or that may be problematic. And so, it’s really helpful in that regard, too.”

While the Principles of Community have yet to debut its results from the surveys, some students have noted that campus inclusivity appears to have no major issues.

Building of the Student Services Building where the office of Inclusive Excellence is held.
Student Services Building – Housing the Office of Inclusive Excellence. | Bryan Doan

“I definitely do feel included in school, especially because as an ASI employee I feel like I get to talk to everybody at school whether through tabling events or just with my peers in the classroom,” said Alyssa Young, an international business student. “I always get to go to all the cool events we have on campus. We usually have something weekly going on, so even if you feel scared to come to those events, you know there’s going to be people there to bring you in.”

Plant science student Demetri Arciero felt the campus is “very inviting the way everyone wants you to succeed.” And aerospace engineering student Kylee Sanchez noted, “with many resource centers and clubs, I believe that there is a place for everyone.”

Inclusivity and racial justice are also being actively promoted within the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences through the CLASS Inclusive Excellence Committee. Alongside the Principles of Community, the CLASS committee is working to promote inclusivity through “An Equity and Inclusion Manifesto,” which involves surveying student experiences to understand equity issues, supporting inclusive teaching methods and highlighting equity in faculty evaluations. With these objectives in place, the committee aims to contribute to a more inclusive campus environment.

The strive for diversity and inclusion is not contained to just CPP. Universities within the California State University system have their own diversity and inclusion departments that strive for the same goals as the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

California State University, Los Angeles has its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging program that hosts events such as cultural and heritage celebrations to promote diversity and inclusivity on their campus. Cal State University, San Marcos has its own Office of Inclusive Excellence, while Cal State University, Long Beach’s Division of Academic Affairs has supported academic programs, curriculums and other efforts to promote diversity.

Students who want to learn more about CPP’s goals and plans to continue promoting inclusion and diversity on campus can visit the Office of Inclusive Excellence’s website to find out more information regarding future events, guest speakers and campus initiatives.

Feature image courtesy of Bryan Doan

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